United States Occupation of Iraq
by Josh Frank
1. US Military Occupation will not make us safer.
The occupation of Iraq feeds right into Bin Laden’s own rhetoric that the United States has empirical and selfish reasons for reconstructing the Middle East. If US military presence in Saudi Arabia has inflamed fundamentalists like Bin Laden, how will this occupation not do the same -- only on a much larger scale?
2. As an Occupying Power the United States has already violated international law.
Just like the unilateral attack on Iraq, the United States has once again violated international codes of conduct. By not providing for the security of Iraq’s museums and market places, Bush and company have broken treaties and other international statutes. Bush will most likely not make a formal declaration that the war has ended -- which would obligate the United States to provide humanitarian relief and take immediate responsibility for the 25 million citizens of Iraq. Instead President Bush has heroically claimed victory while simultaneously breaking the very laws he claims to uphold.
3. Iraqis don’t want the presence of US military.
Massive protests against US occupation of Iraq have sprung up throughout the country. With continued escalation of violence during these demonstrations, and with the killings of over 15 Iraqis by US forces in Baghdad -- anti-US sentiment is sure to increase more. If Iraq has been liberated why are they still living under an occupying power they didn't ask for?
4. Occupation will only hinder relief efforts.
Military operations in Iraq make humanitarian efforts more difficult by increasing tension and spurring Iraqi rebellions. American and allied forces have experienced gunfire and stone throwing while attempting to provide aid to Iraqis. Many are not willing to allow their occupier the freedom the military needs to supply aid, because the US is still seen as a threat to Iraqi’s sovereignty.
5. Iraqi Security should be number one.
It is pertinent for Iraq security that electricity gets back up and rolling again -- as well as all hospitals and communication portals. Also, over 40% of Iraqis were employed under Saddam’s government and none have been paid since the war started. These are the security issues that need to be addressed first in order for Iraq to begin rebuilding its devastated economy.
6. Funding for the environment, education and healthcare are already being cut in order to pay for Iraq’s current occupation.
Defense Department officials have announced that Bush’s $60 billion dollar estimate for the war in Iraq would actually look more like $90 billion -- this without the added costs of Iraq’s occupation and rebuilding. At the same time the Bush administration projects a $300 billion dollar deficit over the next two years. With over 65,000 US jobs lost a month in Bush’s wartime economy, its seems federal spending could be focused elsewhere.
7. Arab countries are becoming even more critical of United State’s plans to govern postwar Iraq.
US military presence is not welcome in the Middle East -- with Palestine, Syria, Iran, Egypt,Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Libya and now the “liberated” Afghanistan -- showing their anger at Iraq’s occupiers through protests and religious/political rallies. Anti-US sentiment is on the rise with every hour of US occupation. If this war is about liberation and democracy then the voices in the streets should be accounted for.
Unfortunately Bush’s tolerance for dissent is dismal to none. Massive antiwar rallies across the world couldn’t catch his ear -- it seems doubtful he is willing to listen to the voices currently being echoed across the Arab world.
8. Occupation will not breed democracy.
For true democracy to unfold, Iraq must be allowed to develop its own government, with minimal oversight from outside powers. But Bush is not willing to allow such a democracy to take shape. Perhaps he is fearful a regime with animosity towards Israel and the US will gain support. But just like this war not being about Weapons of Mass Destruction, it is also not about democracy -- at least not the democracy Bush claims to be spreading.
9. It’s time for US troops to come home.
Over 120 American service people have already shed their blood for Bush’s illegal invasion. The occupation of Beirut in 1983 saw 241 deaths inflicted upon US forces. There is little reason to believe Iraq will be any different. American troops are no longer wanted nor welcomed in Iraq. Let this not become a shadow of the Israeli/Palestinian parody -- a conflict that has no end in sight.
10. There are other options.
The United States should exit all troops in Iraq that are not needed to ensure protection required under international law. Instead United Nations workers should reenter Iraq, including weapons inspectors and aid workers.
The international court should also condemn this illegal and unjust war by prosecuting those that were involved in its planning and execution. The oil-for food program should be expanded and reinstated to help offset the 12 years of brutal sanctions and bombings Iraq has endured. Also, no profits should be made by foreign companies and investors in the rebuilding phase of Iraq. All profits that are made should be put directly back into the pockets of Iraqis who have lost businesses, homes and loved ones as a result of Bush’s illegal war. Finally, if Bush wants a friendly and liberated Iraq -- then the billions of dollars that are to be spent on Iraq’s occupation should be swapped for humanitarian efforts.